I find this very disturbing [emphasis mine]:
A certain amount of fat is essential to your body’s functioning. And as you’ve probably heard, all fats are not alike in their effects on blood cholesterol levels, which can affect heart disease risk. Saturated fat, for example, generally increases levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. But while this information was known when the surgeon general issued the first report on nutrition and health in 1988 and the National Academy of Sciences issued its own report in 1989, public health authorities felt that a message to reduce total fat would be best understood by the public. The thought was, says [Marion] Nestle (who was managing editor of the 1988 report), that since saturated fats from meat and dairy products were the main sources of fat in the American diet, lowering total fat would automatically reduce consumption of saturated fat.
Oh, don’t worry your little heads about the different effects of different fats. Just reduce all your fat. It couldn’t possibly result in difficult-to-make changes in your diet for no good reason. I mean, who eats nuts or olive oil or salmon or avocadoes, right? No reason to worry about what you replace all that fat in your diet with. You just eat your Snackwells and listen to the government.
Is it any wonder that no one can agree on what is the healthiest diet? If it wasn’t obvious before that we couldn’t trust the government, it certainly is now.
Also, the article doesn’t make it clear whether Nestle–managing editor of that report, apparently–disagreed with [over]simplifying the message, went along with it, or was a big proponent of it. You’d think if she was managing editor, she probably agreed with it. Unless and until I find out, I’m going to trust her advice a lot less.